[ purs ]
See synonyms for: pursepursed on Thesaurus.com

  1. Also called change purse [cheynj-purs] /ˈtʃeɪndʒ ˌpɜrs/ . a small bag, pouch, or case for carrying money.

  1. anything resembling a purse in appearance, use, etc.

  2. a sum of money offered as a prize or reward.

  3. a sum of money collected as a present or the like.

  4. money, resources, or wealth.

verb (used with object),pursed, purs·ing.
  1. to contract into folds or wrinkles; pucker: to purse one's lips.

  2. to put into a purse.

Origin of purse

First recorded before 1100; (noun) Middle English, Old English purs, blend of pusa “bag” (cognate with Old Norse posi ) and Medieval Latin bursa “bag” (ultimately from Greek býrsa “hide, leather”); (verb) Middle English pursen “to put in a purse,” derivative of the noun

Other words from purse

  • purse·less, adjective
  • purse·like, adjective

Words that may be confused with purse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use purse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for purse


/ (pɜːs) /

  1. a small bag or pouch, often made of soft leather, for carrying money, esp coins

  2. US and Canadian a woman's handbag

  1. anything resembling a small bag or pouch in form or function

  2. wealth; funds

  3. a sum of money that is offered, esp as a prize

  1. (tr) to contract (the mouth, lips, etc) into a small rounded shape

Origin of purse

Old English purs, probably from Late Latin bursa bag, ultimately from Greek: leather

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with purse


In addition to the idiom beginning with purse

  • purse strings

also see:

  • can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.